Mike asks: "And when grocery stores are left to free market principles, it ends up preventing some people from getting food. I return to my question: where do you stop? And I'm not being snarky. Just pointing out that healthcare, or insurance, isn't the only thing that "translates to human lives" that is a for profit industry in this country."
|Posted: 26 March 2010 at 3:44pm | IP Logged | 11
Fair question! I think the difference is that you don't need insurance to buy food. You can get a whole hamburger for a buck at most fast food restaurants. It's not good food, and you might have to take a hit to your pride and self-respect to beg long enough to get a buck, but it's doable.
Here's the difference with Health Care - we all need it, or might need it. (You could be young and healty and think you don't need health care, and then get hit by a bus...) And it costs a lot because we all agree that doctors need to be paid for their valuable services - and it costs so much, that, in fact, we need a third party to help us pay for it. And by leaving that third party to the whims of the bottom line, it defeats the purpose of having the insurance, yet prices are such that we can't do without the insurance.
Viscious cycle, eh?
Keep in mind - insurance is, in historical terms in America, fairly new. It was pretty revolutionary when Dr Garfield, staff doc at the Kaiser shipyards in Richmond California, convinced Henry J Kaiser to deduct a quarter from each employee's check, and in turn, he'd provide free medical care on demand.
We don't need insurance to buy food - you can buy cheap, and we have programs to deal with those who can't scrape together the change to get the cheapest fool - government programs like food stamps or welfare, or local charities like food banks or soup kitchens.
I can speak to that - I was the head chef for 16 years (the fourth saturday of each month) at Martin DePorrus Soup Kitchen in San Francisco. Here's a dirty secret - we also got government money to buy some of our base supplies - like the one day a month I did it, I always made "O'Brien Lentil Surprise" - which had base ingredients of Lentils, tomato paste, beef base, pasta, a few spices (salt, pepper, orgegano, cilantro, chili pepper, basil) and sometimes rice (phased out due to burning the pan) - those base items were paid for. Everything else was donations - from local charities, food banks, supermarkets, etc. Usually we had onions and sometimes other vegs, and then other odds and ends that I'd throw in.
Fed a lot of hungry people.
Anyway - good question, but not the same thing. I get the slippery slope angle you're concerned about, but nothing else falls into the specific critera that Health Care does.